President Zelensky: It’s ‘Just About Fairness…Not About Quid Pro Quo’

Ruben Fields
December 3, 2019

Ukraine's former Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal - who said she resigned last week to protest Kyiv's diplomacy with both Washington and Moscow - became the first Ukrainian official to publicly acknowledge Ukrainian higher-ups were aware that the US froze Ukrainian military during the Trump administration's campaign to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating President Trump's domestic political rivals, The New York Times reports.

The Ukraine interference conspiracy endorsed by Putin, Trump and now Kennedy, has been soundly debunked not only by US intelligence agencies, but also by a Republican-led Senate committee in 2017.

Zelenskiy, a former comedian turned politician, has been in office for barely six months and his conversations with Trump are the topic of intense scrutiny in the US, with their July 25 phone call at the center of the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Zelensky has expressed a desire to avoid involvement in US political affairs, a position that was affirmed by numerous witnesses who testified last month in the impeachment inquiry hearings.

Trump later told reporters as he departed Monday for London for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit that Zelenskiy's comments should be "case closed", mischaracterizing the interview by saying that Zelenskiy had come out and said "very strongly that President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong". But you have to understand. So he said he wasn't aware of or concerned with any alleged quid pro quo - he was concerned about his nation's ability to defend itself.

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"When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals", he said. "If you're our strategic partner, then you can't go blocking anything for us". Zelenskiy says, "That's not my thing". I think that's just about fairness.

"I do not want Ukraine to be a piece on the chessboard of the great powers", Zelenskiy said in the interview.

"The Ukrainian president came out and said very strongly that President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong, that should be case over", he said.

This week, the first round of peace talks will take place between Ukraine and Russian Federation. Last month, Fiona Hill, the former U.S. National Security Council Russian expert in the Trump administration, also debunked Putin-Trump disinformation that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

As they did in the hearings, Republicans also argue that the evidence does not support claims that Trump used US security assistance and a White House meeting as leverage to get Zelenskiy to open an investigation into his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.

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